These $600 smart glasses backed by Amazon and Intel are the best yet — but they still don't do enough

The best smart glasses yet are technically impressive—but don't do enough

Canadian company North recently released a $600 pair of smart glasses called Focals. The company, previously known as Thalmic Labs, raised money from backers including Amazon's Alexa Fund and Intel Capital in 2017.

The basic idea is that they're glasses with a tiny projector in one of their arms. The projector beams an image onto a circular film on the right lens, which bounces it back into your eyeball. As a result, even though there's technically no screen, you see an image. Focals can show you simple alerts like incoming messages, the time and weather, but they have limited capabilities beyond that. You control the glasses with a small joystick on a plastic ring worn on your finger.

A lot of other companies are pursuing similar ideas, including Microsoft with HoloLens, and start-up Magic Leap. Apple is also reportedly working on glasses that could ship as soon as next year. But so far, Focals stand out because North focused on making smart glasses that are useful, but also look good.

CNBC's Adam Isaak tried them out. Watch the video to learn more.